Twelve years old and living on the street in one of the poorest countries of the world, Djibe already had a pretty hard life. When he was seen by Canadian medical volunteers, his foot was severely injured and infected.
“His wound was cleansed and dressed and he received a course of antibiotics,” wrote Rod Le Roy of the Reverend Charles F. Johnston Charitable Foundation in his report on the Physician Travel Pack he carried to Senegal. “He was then visited by a medic daily until his wound healed. He would have lost his foot or leg without treatment and antibiotics.”
Months later some team members visited Djibe and reported that “he continues to be healthy and strong, with both feet.”
Le Roy’s foundation is in partnership with the Maison de la Gare, an organization that is dedicated to helping the street kids of St. Louis in Senegal. According to the Canadian International Development Agency, Senegal is one of the world’s poorest countries, with approximately 34 percent of its population living on less than US$1.25/day.
Sixty-eight per cent of the population is under 25 and many rural families are extremely poor and cannot afford to look after their children. “Les Talibés” is a term to describe boys, as young as four years old, who are sent to study the Koran under the instruction of a “Marabout”, teacher of the Koran. They often end up on the street begging for food.
These are the kids that Maison de la Gare and the Reverend Charles F. Johnston Charitable Foundation are helping. Their clinic also responds to urgent health needs in the broader community.
“The medications and supplies provided by Health Partners International of Canada are simply unavailable to the children of St. Louis,” wrote Le Roy. “The fact that the medications are donated demonstrates to the children that they are valued and not forgotten. Many of the medications mean the difference between life and death for many children.”